History of the Administration of President Lincoln: Including His Speeches, Letters, Addresses, Proclamations, and Messages. With a Preliminary Sketch of His Life

By Henry J. Raymond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII.
MOVEMENTS TOWARDS RECONSTRUCTION.--THE REBELLION AND
LABOR.--THE PRESIDENT ON BENEVOLENT ASSOCIATIONS.--
ADVANCING ACTION CONCERNING THE NEGRO RACE.

THE Proclamation, which accompanied the Annual Message of the President, embodied the first suggestions of the administration on the important subject of reconstructing the governments of those States, which had joined in the secession movement. The matter had been canvassed somewhat extensively by the public press, and by prominent politicians, in anticipation of the overthrow of the rebellion, and the view taken of the subject had been determined, to a very considerable extent, by the sentiments and opinions of the different parties as to the object and purpose of the war. The supporters of the administration did not all hold precisely the same ground on this subject. As has already been seen, in the de bates of the Congress of 1862-3, a considerable number of the friends of the government, in both houses, maintained that, by the act of secession, the revolted States had put themselves outside the pale of the Constitution, and were henceforth to be regarded and treated, not as members of the Union, but as alien enemies:*--that their State organizations and

____________________
*
President Lincoln's view of this position is stated in the following note addressed by him to the publishers of the North American Review, which contained an article upon his policy of administration:

"EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, January 16, 1864.

"Messrs. CROSBY & NICHOLS:

"Gentlemen:--The number for this month and year of the North American Review was duly received, and for which please accept my thanks. Of course I am not the most impartial judge; yet, with due

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